Hydropower, geothermal, biomass executives urge production tax credit extension

Washington, D.C., February 8, 2012 — Executives from the hydropower, geothermal and biomass power industries called on congressional leaders to extend the production tax credit through 2016 for hydropower, geothermal and biomass.

The three industries operate in parts of the country not often associated with renewable energy — particularly the Southeast and Mountain West — and company and trade association leaders expressed concern for a looming crisis that has put thousands of jobs in these states at risk. The call comes as opponents of renewable energy tax policy place the future of these industries in jeopardy, according to the group.

The group called for the immediate passage of H.R. 3307: American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act of 2011, which covers all renewable technologies, and is sponsored by Rep. Dave Reichert [R-WA8] and Rep. Earl Blumenauer [D-OR3] with over 60 bipartisan cosponsors, including 16 Republicans.

Participants in the press conference included Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association; Mark Stover, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Hydro Green Energy; Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association; Jonathan M. Weisgall, Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.; and Robert Cleaves, President and CEO, Biomass Power Association.

“The geothermal industry has added over $1 billion in new power projects to the grid since the Congress extended the PTC to geothermal energy in 2005, bringing several thousand drilling, construction and operating jobs to often rural areas with high unemployment. But with a project lead time of 4 years or more, the geothermal industry has already reached its so-called tax credit cliff, even if the legal deadline is 2013. This is not just undermining projects in 16 states with new geothermal power projects, it is also costing vendors lost orders in over 46 states that supply geothermal projects. It is more critical than ever for Congress to adopt a longer time frame for geothermal incentives. We urge action now to extend the tax deadline from 2013 to at least 2016,” said Karl Gawell, Executive Director, Geothermal Energy Association.

“With long lead times and high up-front capital costs, there is a great need to de-risk the geothermal energy industry, and an extension of the PTC will help do just that,” said Jonathan M. Weisgall, Vice President, Legislative and Regulatory Affairs, MidAmerican Energy Holdings Co.

"The biomass industry employs thousands of Americans, many of whom live and work in rural areas that were hardest hit by our nation's recent recession. To continue to employ these hard-working Americans, and to grow our industry by making it a stable, long-term opportunity for investments, we need the production tax credit to be extended beyond 2013," said Robert Cleaves, President and CEO, Biomass Power Association.

“The hydropower industry supports jobs and low-cost clean energy around the country, from the Southeast to the Northwest. Our industry has huge potential to contribute even more to America’s economy and clean energy future, adding as much as 60,000 MW of new capacity by 2025. This is why it is so urgent that Congress keep in place the policies that support renewable energy growth,” said Linda Church Ciocci, Executive Director, National Hydropower Association.

"Hydro Green Energy's projects currently under development will provide enough clean, renewable hydropower to keep the lights on in over 137,000 homes each year. The extension of the production tax credit is vital to helping us continue to grow, and uncertainty about the fate of this policy is already affecting companies like ours,” said Mark Stover, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Hydro Green Energy. “At Hydro Green Energy, we want to create new American jobs, support our local communities and provide reliable, clean power to America's energy consumers; extending the PTC will help us to do that."

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